Promoting a well-informed public dialogue on tax and public expenditure issues.
The following information has been provided by Representative Mark Jennings regarding K-12 funding. The questions were from Rep. Jennings to the Wyoming Legislative Services Office (LSO), and the answers are provided as written from the LSO.
- How much per student does the state spend on K-12 education.?
- For school year 2016-2017, this amount is approximately $16,028. For school year 2017-2018, this amount is approximately $15,931 when accounting for the reductions enacted during the 2017 General Session.
- What is the annual deficit for K-12 education funding?
- This will have to be ferreted out a bit, but the annual shortfall will decrease for the FY 2019-2020 biennium at least $34 million each year or $70 million for biennium with the reductions implemented during the 2017 General Session without any additional action. Additionally, the guaranteed 5% spending policy amount will reduce the shortfall by about $80 million per year from the investment earnings guarantee. Additionally, the interest change for the loan to the SFP from the Common School Account within the Permanent Land Fund will benefit to the tune of $20 million net per year, unprofiled in out years. In January, the estimated shortfall for the FY 2019-2020 biennium was $360 million, annually. Taking into consideration the action from the session, it could decrease approximately $104-$134 million, annually. The impending recalibration to the K-12 Funding Model will play a role in this as well.
- What would the per student funding amount be if the estimated deficit was reduced from K-12 funding?
- This is difficult to answer, but a rough estimate is that the revised deficit of $226-$256 million per year, is approximately 15 to 20 percent of the total funding to school districts. A similar reduction to the per student funding level would occur if this were to happen. However, the Supreme Court has stated that a lack of revenue is not an excuse to provide the necessary resources for funding education. Additionally, any reduction to K-12 education funding must be done in a cost-based manner.